Author(s): Angelo Verzoni. Published on January 1, 2020.


Georgia city embarks on yearlong journey to implement NFPA 3000


In the wake of deadly shootings or other hostile events, the communities where the tragedies occur band together with mottos like “Boston Strong” or “Vegas Strong” as part of their recovery process.

But officials in Augusta, Georgia, want to flip the script.

“Strong Augusta” is what they’ll be saying starting in January, as the city embarks on a yearlong journey to implement NFPA 3000™ (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program.

The idea is to develop that strength before a hostile event occurs, said John Ryan, coordinator of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response in Augusta. “We are making a concerted effort to come together and develop the right relationships, plan for interoperability, and drill the effective tactics before any event presents itself,” Ryan said. He coined the phrase “Strong Augusta”—which will be used as the hashtag #StrongAugusta—to represent the idea of being prepared for a hostile event, and possibly even preventing it.

Augusta is the first city to approach NFPA and ask for its involvement in such a project. Safety officials from the city first contacted NFPA about eight months ago to discuss their plans to implement NFPA 3000 across the board, from government buildings to local universities and health care facilities in the community.

John Montes, the NFPA staff liaison for NFPA 3000, is optimistic that, by documenting Augusta’s journey, NFPA can use the city’s experience as valuable guidance for others. “The Augusta case study will show how you can use the standard in all these different ways throughout your community,” Montes said. “It’s going to set a great example for other communities that are wondering, ‘Where do we start?’”

Augusta, a city of about 200,000 people, is best known for hosting the Masters golf tournament each spring. It’s also home to a handful of college campuses, including the 9,000-student Augusta University.

The project begins with a kickoff event January 16 and will culminate with a large-scale simulation of an active shooter event in January 2021. NFPA Journal will provide coverage the city’s NFPA 3000 process over the course of the year.

Learn more about NFPA 3000 at

ANGELO VERZONI is staff writer for NFPA Journal. Top photograph: Getty Images